Cambridge District Scout Archives
Whilst The Scout Association is the largest Scouting group in Britain other Scouting organisations have prospered. This is not unusual and many countries run parallel organisations. The largest of these was the British Boy Scouts which ‘in 1910 were about a third of all Scouts’. www.netpages.free-online.co.uk/bbs/bbs.htm
Before 1914 many Scouting organisations were established often within other organisations. The Church Lads’ Brigade, Boys’ Brigade, London Diocese, Salvation Army and YMCA sponsored troops. Most either joined the Boys Scouts Association, the last being the Salvation Army Life Saving Scouts in 1947, or dropped Scouting from their programme. From BBS website history
The location and history of these Groups would add to the picture of early Scouting in Cambridge but early records are reported lost. Numbers rapidly shrank.
1910 / 1911
In March 1910 photo of Histon Peace Scouts (probably BBS)
With the photo is a mention of the review of Sun May 28th 1911 by Sir Francis Vane in which 1st 2nd & 3rd Cambridge and 1st Shelford also attended. Cambridgeshire Collection Y HIS K10 53963
Histon Troop of Peace Scouts was inspected by Sir Francis Vane, President of the British Boy Scouts who said the Histon Troop was not only the First of All in England, but the First of All in the world (great applause). War is an awful thing and the Peace Scouts were an order whose role was to rescue and save, not destroy. Their ambulance work was performed with enthusiasm, the Morse signaling was good and the Swedish drill excellent. But they should be given training in Fire Brigade work so they could assist in passing buckets of water in an emergency. 11 03 24e (Mike Petty)
In a newspaper report the full letter from Sir Francis Vane to the SM Douglas Bowles is apparently addressed to ‘1st Histon Peace Scouts (First of All) Sir Francis Vane’s Own’ and later wrote ‘as they have done me the honour of calling the Troop by my name’.
Peace Scouts – the largest component of this collection of Scouting Organisations was the British Boy Scouts. The BBS remain as a very small number of Groups in Britain; 15 Groups, 5 of which are Rover Crews.
Note: The Cambridge B-P Scouts mentioned in this 1911 cutting (re printed in 2011, Cambridge News) are the body that became the Scouting Association. The name was given to differentiate them from other Scouting bodies. The current Baden-Powell Scouts were formed in 1970.
In 1912 the last of the BBS Troops (British Boy Scouts) in the Cambridge area were welcomed into the Cambridge District of the Scout Association Annual Report 1912
‘During the present year we have been able to welcome the remaining troops of the British Boy Scouts into our organisation …all under one banner’
The known BBS Troops are
|1st Histon (First of All) Sir Francis Vane’s Own||which became 4th Cambridge District||1912|
|1st Cambridge||history unknown|
|2nd Cambridge||history unknown|
|3rd Cambridge||15th Cambridge St Giles||1912|
|Shelford||No clear continuation. Shelford later 12th Cambridge District||registered 1924|
Nowhere is it clearly stated that Histon Peace Scouts was 1st Company Cambridge British Boy Scouts. That they were BBS is an assumption based on the review by Sir Francis Vane. They were based in Histon and became 4th Cambridge District (Histon) on transfer to BP Scouts.
11th Cambridge District is listed as an Independent Scout Troop prior to joining the Cambridge District in 1912.
Harston Pack had been running for some months ‘It was agreed that Mr Slater would inspect the pack and if satisfied…regularise…’
The Salvation Army Life Saving Scouts merged with the Scout Association in June. As sponsored Groups the names will include Salvation Army
1947 – 1951 Polish Scouts were attempting to claim recognition whilst maintaining their Polish Scout identity. The British Scout association could not recognise them as the National body. They could join the local scout Associations if they stepped away from claiming precedence as the Polish Scouts Association as a separate body from the new post war Scout Association in Poland.
The Girton Scouts Group ceded from the Scout Association to the FSE now ESF (UK)
1984 European Scouts, distinguished on parade by a traditional uniform of wide-brimmed hats and shorts, are making their mark in the Cambridge area. Locally they were born amid controversy three years ago when a Girton group, then belonging to the mainstream Scout Association, switched to the Federation of European Scouting. Together with groups in Waterbeach and Chesterton, bringing numbers to 140, the now account for 10% of European Scouts in England. They stick closer to the original Baden Powell principles – concentration on skills that can’t be classroom learned. From http://www.mikepetty.org.uk/ 19/03/1987 https://archive.org/details/CenturyOfCambridgeNewsAugust2015 M.J.Petty A Century of Cambridge News 1888-1988. 1988 c.37.9
The 3rd/ 4th Cambridgeshire ended in 2019 when the last surviving member Ian Shipp, died. He was also a Member of the Black Heron Crew.
2015 B P Scout Association The 1st Dullingham and Stetchworth was opened in 2015. The Association are members of the World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS)
2020 Federation of European Scouts (ESF) are currently operating in Girton, and with Groups in St Ives and Great Chesterford are the Iceni Region. 11 other Groups are listed in the UK in 2015. (The European Scout Federation (British Association) is one of the organisations that founded the Confederation of European Scouts (CES) after leaving the Fédération du Scoutisme Européen (FSE).
M.J.Petty A Century of Cambridge News 1888-1988. 1988 c.37.9
Other Cambridge/ Cambridgeshire Scout Organisations in 2017
- The Transatlantic Council run two America Scouting Groups in RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath. On one occasion, a Group from Alconbury participated in a St Georges Day Meeting and a Group from Mildenhall was working with the local Troops in 2005 – and may be yet.
- A ‘cluster’ of Polish Scouts, an organisation formed in exile, the ‘Swallows’ is located in Cambridge.
Although they need no introduction Girl Guides have run alongside Scouts since 1909 and are included here for completeness.
JWR Archivist Feb 2019